According to official estimates, Budget 2022’s allocation for the bumiputera community comes up to RM11.4 billion, while the amount for the non-bumiputera communities is about RM300 million or a 2.6% equivalent. This works out to about RM577 per bumiputera, RM75 per Indian and RM15 per Chinese.
Even this lopsided bumiputera figure may be an underestimate. Does it, for example, include the allocations of RM1.5 billion for Islamic affairs, RM140 million for Islamic and ‘pondok’ school maintenance, and various other bumiputera allocations ‘accidentally’ missed out, hidden or disguised?
Also, unjustifiable and unconscionable is the so-called one-off RM700 for civil servants. A total of 1.3 million civil servants are to receive this, besides being also given five extra days of unrecorded leave. Amounting to over RM1 billion, this in fact is not the first handout to civil servants during the pandemic period. ‘More money for less work’ is the new motto that the Umno-Perikatan Nasional government is advocating for the nation’s civil servants.
MALAYSIAN Indian Voice (MIV) founder Pappa Raidu Veraman has expressed his dismay and frustration with the draft budget for 2022, claiming that it has failed to reflect Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s Keluarga Malaysia ideals.
“The Chinese community has been allocated RM200 mil, the Orang Asli community, RM274 mil and the Indian community, RM145 mil. However, RM11.4 bil was allocated for the Bumiputera agenda,” he pointed out.
“Budget 2022 is irrational seeing as to how there are massive difference in allocation between different races in the country.”
According to Pappa Raidu, he has failed to see the Keluarga Malaysia concept in the draft of the current budget.
“The Government led by Ismail Sabri must realise that his position is ‘stable’ now thanks to the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the Opposition parties.
“He should be a good example for all Malaysians and reflect the real meaning of Keluarga Malaysia by giving equal opportunity and equal budget to all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or ethnicity.”
Pappa Raidu went on to say that it is time for Ismail Sabri – and all future prime ministers of Malaysia – to take a vital role when drafting the national budget by looking only at the necessary merits rather than focusing on race and religion.
“We claim that Malaysia is a developing country but yet, many families in rural areas still suffer without clean water, food, proper education and a safe living environment, among others.
“We should remember to refrain from practising the same ideals of UMNO and Barisan Nasional (BN) who have still failed to achieve the National Economic Policy (NEP)’s 30% Bumiputera target despite decades in power.
“In the end, only certain ‘elites’ get to reap the benefits of the policy.
“This is why the Prime Minister and the Cabinet ministers should take a closer look at the Budget from taxpayers’ perspective and must be fair and distribute funds equally to all Malaysians,” he concluded.
Bumi shares and firms will only be allowed to be sold to fellow Bumiputeras
he sale of Bumiputera shares or companies will only be offered and sold to fellow Bumiputera consortiums, firms and individuals under a soon to be introduced government measure.
Announcing this in Parliament on Monday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the equity safety net framework is aimed at ensuring sustainable Bumiputera equity ownership.
He said the ownership and disposal of Bumiputera companies will soon be regulated by the relevant ministries and agencies.
To coordinate all these initiatives, a Bumiputera Prosperity Division will be set up with a clearer mandate and function by reassigning officers from all government ministries and agencies, Ismail Sabri said when tabling the 12th Malaysian Plan (12MP) 2021-2025.
“This step is to improve the implementation of the Bumiputera agenda with good governance. A Bumiputera development action framework will be announced at the end of this year. This will detail some of the key initiatives to achieve the goal of improving the socio-economic status of this group,” he said.
Stressing that the government’s target of boosting Bumiputera corporate equity ownership to 30% has yet to be achieved, the prime minister noted that it stood at only 17.2% as of 2019.
Non-Bumiputeras controlled 25% of the corporate equity and foreign investors owned 45.5%, while the remaining 12.3% was held by nominees.
“The government is aware that a large number of Bumiputeras are still low-income and poor compared to other ethnic groups. The median income gap between Bumiputeras and Chinese further widened, to four times in 2019 compared with 1989.
“I assure you that the Bumiputera agenda will continue to be strengthened and will not be ignored. As enshrined written in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution which preserves the rights and privileges of the Malays and indigenous people, namely the natives of Sabah and Sarawak, and the legitimate interests of the other races. The intention of the government is to achieve a more just and equitable socio-economic development, in line with the spirit of the Malaysian Family,” he said.
This agenda will be incorporated in the implementation of all federal policies to ensure Bumiputeras are given priority at all levels and aspects of development, he added.
To increase Bumiputera participation in economic activities, Ismail Sabri said access to and opportunities for education and human capital development, including huffaz, will be strengthened.
The government will also strengthen the resilience and sustainability of Bumiputera micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to achieve the target of 15% contribution to the gross domestic product by 2025.
This will be supported by the provision of the Bumiputera Prosperity Fund and the Express Contract Financing Scheme under Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) to assist companies and contractors.
The government will also encourage the participation of more Bumiputera entrepreneurs in the digital economy, as well as industries with high-growth potential, said Ismail Sabri.
He added that the implementation of home-ownership quotas will be strengthened through closer cooperation between federal, state and local governments.
In addition, financial aid, guidance and mentoring by financial institutions will be further expanded to assist Bumiputera entrepreneurs.
“As an initiative to further develop the Islamic economy, the concept of wakaf will be expanded as a strategy to diversify financial resources in order to finance business and increase the equity of Bumiputeras.
“In this context, more endowment instruments will be introduced, including the creation of a waqf fund at the national level to mobilize more resources for entrepreneurship and financing socio-economic development programmes. A National Wakaf Master Plan will be established to ensure more efficient wakaf management,” said Ismail Sabri.